Angelina Jolie And The House Of Lords

There have been reports in the media that Angelina Jolie fancies a seat in the House of Lords. But could that actually happen? Could she really become Baroness Jolie?

The simple answer is yes. Although MPs must be British citizens (or citizens of a Commonwealth country or the Republic of Ireland),[1] there is no such requirement for members of the House of Lords. However, Jolie would have to agree to be resident in the United Kingdom for tax purposes.[2]

Jolie’s path to the Lords could begin in one of three ways. She could be nominated by a party leader,[3] a member of the public, or she could even nominate herself. In each case, her candidacy would be vetted by a non-partisan body known as House of Lords Appointments Commission. But she would not be subject to an American-style confirmation hearing. Although the Commission would interview her, it would do so in private. If they decided that she would be an asset to the upper house, her name could then be passed along to the Queen for formal approval.

But Jolie shouldn’t order her peerage robes from Ede & Ravenscroft just yet. While Jolie has done a great deal of humanitarian work, she’s also an American with few ties to the United Kingdom, and many might question the wisdom of giving her a lifetime seat in Britain’s legislature. She might not even find the work congenial. With so many peers in the House nowadays, individual contributions are often truncated. Jolie could easily find herself sitting in the chamber for several hours in order to make a five-minute speech. She would also have to publicly declare certain financial interests, and she might not welcome that level of publicity. But who knows? If Jolie puts down roots in the UK and continues her humanitarian work, she might make it onto the red benches after all.

NOTES

[1] Section 18(1) of the Electoral Administration Act 2006.

[2] Section 41 of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010.

[3] Although the Prime Minister alone has the power to advise the Queen to grant peerages, they will usually seek recommendations from other party leaders.

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